There's an interesting question going around the city of Forsyth in Monroe County, after cell phone video of a brutal beating was made public this week.
When is a gang a gang?
The victim in the beating says he was beaten by gang members.
The suspects regularly identify themselves as being in a gang in social media posts.
And so, for Monroe County Sheriff's investigators, that's enough.
"We take any reports of gangs, or gang violence or gang crime, very very seriously," Allison Selman-Willis with the sheriff's office says.
Last month, a juvenile and his parents walked into the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to report the beating. They also showed investigators a 16 second video clip of the teenager repeatedly being beaten and kicked while he was on the ground trying to shield
himself. He said he wanted out of the High Society White Boys gang, and that the beating was the price he paid to get out.
17-year-olds Samuel Hamrick and Kenneth Faulkner were arrested and charged with aggravated assault and criminal gang activity, as were three other juveniles.
for"It's dangerous, and could've very have been deadly," Selman-Willis says.
Two nights later, several more teens were arrested after a brawl, that investigators believe was retaliation for the earlier beating. Investigators say members of the Dirty White Boys gang were involved in that fight.
But many in this community wonder if these were actual "gang" crimes, or simply kids playing gang. Residents we spoke with, lament the culture where young people record themselves doing stupid, often times violent things, then posting it online.
"They think they're hot stuff, they're not going to get caught doing stuff, and it's ok," Beth Oliver says.
"They have their whole life ahead of them," Tawana Brown says. "Trouble is easy to get in, but it's hard to get out of."
Especially this trouble. Investigators say in addition to the fights, they're now looking into whether or not these groups have committed other crimes.
"What they don't realize is they're providing law enforcement with great evidence," Selman-Willis says. "It's certainly a great tool to help us in our investigation, to identify people who participated in this activity."